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Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin

Descriptions

Isotretinoin is used to treat severe, disfiguring nodular acne. It should be used only after other acne medicines have been tried and have failed to help the acne. Isotretinoin may also be used to treat other skin diseases as determined by your doctor.

Isotretinoin must not be used to treat women who are able to bear children unless other forms of treatment have been tried first and have failed. Isotretinoin must not be taken during pregnancy because it causes birth defects in humans. If you are able to bear children, it is very important that you read, understand, and follow the pregnancy warnings for isotretinoin.

How Isotretinoin Works:

Retinoids are drugs that are relatives of vitamin A. Retinoids control normal cell growth, cell differentiation (the normal process of making cells different from each other), and cell death during embryonic development and in certain tissues later in life. Retinoids effects on the cells are controlled by receptors on the nucleus of each cell (nuclear receptors).

There are two major classes of retinoid nuclear receptors: retinoic acid receptors (RAR) and retinoid-X-receptors (RXR). There are also subtypes within each class. Each of these types of receptors has different functions in different tissues. The different retinoid drugs work by binding to different receptors; which, in turn, affect cell growth and differentiation.

Retinoids are relatively new types of anti-cancer drugs. They have been used alone or in combination to treat a variety of cancers such as skin cancers, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, acute promyelocytic leukemia, lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and head and neck cancers. Retinoids have also been used experimentally in an attempt to prevent certain types of cancer. There is ongoing research to determine their role in both cancer treatment and prevention.

What is the dosage for isotretinoin?

The recommended dose of isotretinoin is 0.5 to 2 mg per kg of body weight daily.

The daily dose usually is administered in two divided doses for 15-20 weeks.

Isotretinoin should be taken with food in order to improve its absorption.

What are the uses for isotretinoin?

Isotretinoin is used to treat severe acne that is resistant to more conservative treatments such as creams, drying agents, and topical or oral antibiotics. Complete remission or prolonged improvement is seen in many patients after one course of 15 to 20 weeks of isotretinoin. Because of its serious side effects, isotretinoin should be used only for severe resistant acne.

side effects

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mucous membranes (mouth, nose)
  • Back pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Itching

Precautions:

Before starting Isotretinoin treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.

Do not take vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A in high doses has many of the same side effects as Isotretinoin. Taking both together may increase your chance of getting side effects.

Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking Isotretinoin.

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